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Omar’s Holiday Picks 2019
Black Friday / Cyber Monday deals
Here are some deals you should consider
Get 20% off Apple iTunes/App Store gift card. This is a no brainer as you can buy a few and just store them as credit in your Apple account. This money can be used to pay for any Apple subscriptions through them (HBO, Showtime, Applications) as well as Movies, Books and TV. If you pay with Apple Pay and your Apple Credit card your discount becomes 22% off. I can’t think of a better return if you plan to spend this money. Best Buy
Google / Nest have some fantastic deals right now. I love the Nest IQ cameras (indoor and outdoor) as well as the doorbell. Google
Apple is offering up to a $200 store credit if you purchase eligible devices. Apple
Sonos is offering 20% off a number of items but not the Move that I recommend below. Sonos
Surface Pro X
I just got one of these at work - so no in-depth review yet. I have been using a Surface Pro for many years now (the 3, 4, skipped the 5, and got the 6). For a brief time, I used the Laptop but preferred the Pro as I travel with this device for work, and I want the lightest package I can get as I also go with an iPad Pro 11.
The Pro X appears fantastic. It’s very light and fast and has great battery life. This is cause it’s not running an Intel chip, but an ARM chip - the same kind found in iPad and phones. As such, there are some trade-offs for that weight and thin bezel - comparability with apps. If you are using this as a productivity device, you should be fine. I think this is the future, but be aware this is really a version 1 device.
The Surface Pro X has a nifty keyboard with a built-in Pen, which is a great option to get.
Surface Pro 7
If compatibility is essential (such as games), then you can’t go wrong with the Surface Pro 7. This is also what I got my 13-year-old for her birthday as an upgrade form the Surface Go, which she has outgrown. She loves playing The Sims and now has a device that can do this well.
I love this device in Black, and 8GB / 256GB should suffice.
I recently got an iPad mini 5. I already have iPad Pros, but I wanted something that was dedicated to “reading and watching.” I love the form factor of the mini. This device is set up for only two purposes - entertainment. No email, iMessage, or work apps. I love using it as a dedicated device for this purpose.
My kids have one each as well. This can’t be beaten for travel and weekend use.
The 64GB model is plenty for entertainment.
Bose NC 700
I have not reviewed these yet, but I have been testing them for over a month, and they take noise cancellation and comfort to a new level. With 20h of battery life, these are a must-have for long international flights and outlast and outbound the AirPod Pros.
When not traveling, these sit by my bedside on this gorgeous Grovemade headphone stand.
These are a significant upgrade over the regular AirPods and are highly recommended and will make a great holiday gift. See my review. I would take these on any flight < 3 hours and ditch the Bose or other headphones at home.
Buy Now - Amazon - note these appear to be sold out everywhere. You might have luck checking Apple store inventory every day if you need to find some.
Peak Design Every Day Bags (version 2) - if you have been reading my blog/newsletter for a while, you’ll know I adore Peak Designs. They make the best gear and camera bags & equipment. A few days ago, they released the most significant update to their line of everyday bags. You should take a look. I really like the new Every Day ZIP bag (new) and the new Sling bags. Buy Now
Aura Frame - This is one of my favorite gifts. See my review. Everyone I know that has this loves it. I purchased these as holiday gifts for my direct reports last year, and they had positive reviews. Buy Now - Amazon
Outlier Gotwyck Single Origin Merino T-Shirt - This is the most excellent Merino t-shirt you can get. It’s incredibly soft and durable. I always travel with 1 or 2. Buy Now
Outlier Ultra Fine Merino T-Shirt - The U ltra Fine is their original merino shirt that comes in many more colors. Buy Now
Outlier S140 Hidden Pocket Pivot - This is one of the most comfortable button shirts. It’s 100% merino and feels like a flannel shirt with a bit of stretch. I’ve been alternating between a black and dark navy one the past few days. Very casual and relaxed. Buy Now
Outlier AMB Button Up - This is a great formal dress shirt. It’s lightweight and comes out of your suitcase wrinkle-free. Since it’s merino, it doesn’t need a lot of washes to stay clean and odor-free. Buy Now
Outlier Merino Watch Cap - A simple fall and winter 100% merino hat. Buy Now
SDR Traveler Tote - I really love to travel with this tote. It weighs nearly nothing and folds into a small space. I use this on most flights to hold all my flight materials for easy access such as snacks, headphones, iPads, chargers. Buy Now
SDR Money Pouch - When I travel, I keep foreign currency in here. Buy Now
SDR Passport Pouch - When transiting through airports, I keep all 4 of my family’s passports around my neck in this light pouch. Buy Now
AirFly Bluetooth Adapter - Bluetooth headphones are fabulous, but what if you want to watch a movie on an airplane? This little adapter charges via USB-C and allows you to wirelessly stream content to any Bluetooth headphones. Also great for the Nintendo Switch. Buy Now
Nintendo Switch Lite - This is a smaller and updated version of the original Nintendo Switch. It’s adorable. The only downside is that you cannot dock it to a TV - which makes it the perfect travel companion. Buy Now - Amazon
Sonos Move - I recently picked up a Sonos Move, and it’s great. This is a portable speaker with a built-in battery and dock. It works like a regular Sonos speaker at home but comes off the dock and can be moved anywhere. It has Bluetooth as well so you can take to a party or picnic and stream audio. Buy Now - Amazon
Miir Bottles and Cups - Pretty much anything from Miir is impressive. I love their cups, water bottles, and tumblers. Buy Now
Purist Collective Water Bottles - I discovered these a few months ago, and the 18oz bottle is now my daily driver in my car. I like it cause it has a hefty base and doesn’t move around. It also has a glass-lined material inside the bottle, which helps with taste. The parent company is actually Specialized Bikes. Buy Now
The Carter - their newest do it all every day carry knife. I want this. Buy Now
The Elko - a tiny every day carry. I keep this in my desk drawer at home and work to open packages and for other small tasks. I like it in red. Buy Now
The Stillwell - a great travel pen. I keep this in my passport wallet and charger bag in case I need a pen for any reason. Buy Now
The Benton - a nice full-sized pen with a great clicker. Buy Now
Etsy Calendars - These beautiful hand made desk calendars bring me joy. Each month has a small Easter egg to discover. The artist makes terrific cards and other items and is Seattle based. Buy Now
GroveMade makes some really lovely desk products that all make for excellent gifts.
Grovemade Pen Stand - I like this so much I have one at home and at work. Never lose a pen again. Buy Now
Grovemade Wool Felt Desk Pad - The desk pad is great to put under your keyboard and mouse. It comes in two sizes - a full size that will fill a whole desk and the smaller one. Buy Now
GroveMade Mouse Pad - leather and walnut mouse pad if you don’t care for a wool pad. Buy Now
Sette coffee grinder - Are you a coffee lover that has almost everything you want to make the perfect coffee? Well, this is the best coffee grinder you can get. It’s 100% fully automated and doses an exact amount of coffee into a portafilter with a built-in scale. Sette is a local Seattle company and has a fantastic warranty service. Not cheap by any means - you have been warned. Buy Now
Bluebottle Pour Over Kit - making great coffee doesn’t need to be complicated. This pour-over kit is perfect for making a single cup any time of day. This is what we use every day to make coffee in a few minutes. Buy Now
Ratio Six - Our family has a Ratio Eight coffee machine, and we use this for making > 1 cup of coffee. Ratio has a new machine that is just released. It’s a bit more compact and has a stainless steel carafe. I have not used this, but you might enjoy it. Buy Now
Fellow Stagg Kettle - Looks excellent and pour over-friendly. Buy Now
Casper Glow - I’ve been waking up to the Casper glow since I reviewed it. I have not snoozed once since getting this light, and I now take it on long trips with me in my suitcase. Read my review. Buy Now
Peak Design Wash Bag - I’ve had many Dopp kits over the years, and nothing beats how well designed the Peak design is. Buy Now - Amazon
Belkin Boost up - for charging your Apple Watch, iPhone, and 1 other USB item on your nightstand. Buy Now - Amazon
Anker 18W USB-C Charger - This tiny little charger will make a great stocking stuffer. Replace all your stock Apple chargers with this as it’s smaller and fast. iPhone X and later, as well as all iPads will charge faster using this charger. If you need two USB-C ports (18W each), get this one. Buy Now - Amazon
Anker USB-C to lightning cable - I love the feel of this cable. It’s braided and kink-free and pairs well with the charger above. Buy Now - Amazon